A proven effective strategy
Supported Self-Management (SSM) is gaining increasing recognition as an essential component in the treatment of people suffering from anxiety and depressive disorders. Most practice guidelines (NICE, CANMAT) recommend it. Finally, it is also part of the Chronic Care Model, which is progressively more popular for both physical illnesses and mental disorders.
SSM helps sufferers become better informed and take an active role in their treatment, thus contributing to the effectiveness of primary care interventions. Several methods are available to support those willing to actively contribute to their care: bibliotherapy, self-help guides, audiovisual material available online, computerized cognitive behavioural therapy, etc. These resources are more effective when combined with the support of a caregiver. Several types of caregivers, including general practitioners, nurses, social workers or workers from community agencies specializing in the field, can provide self-management support to people with anxiety and depressive disorders.
This type of intervention can be used in different ways:
- as the main intervention, for example, in the case of mild depression,
- to complement psychotherapy or pharmacotherapy, such as in the case of moderate to severe depression, or
- as a way to prevent relapses.
SSM can prove to be an interesting answer for the shortage of therapists and can also improve the cost-effectiveness of interventions.
Although SSM has proven to be an effective strategy, there is still much to learn about the specific contents and requirements for obtaining greater clinical efficiency and better cost-effectiveness.